Advertisement
  1. News

State hopes to privatize more work release centers

Published Jun. 22, 2013

The leaders of Florida's prison system believe work release is one of the best ways to help inmates succeed in the outside world.

But funding the nation's third-largest prison system has been challenging in recent years given state budget woes. To save money, the state has turned a quarter of Florida's 32 work release facilities over to private operators, such as Goodwill Industries-Suncoast.

Six more could become private by year's end — saving taxpayers $4.4 million, according to Department of Corrections Secretary Michael Crews.

Prison officials say it's not just about the money. They believe local organizations have expertise that state government doesn't.

Crews, in an interview earlier this year, said that even though correctional officers are hard-working and professional "they don't have the expertise in job placement" compared to local groups with networks of community contacts.

But keeping down costs is clearly part of the state's work release strategy. The department's average per-inmate cost is $42.24 per day. Work release centers averaged $29.29 per inmate per day. The lower cost is "primarily due to reduced need for security and support staff, inmate responsibility for personal and health care costs and inmate employment in the community during the day," according to state bid documents. During the fiscal year that ended May 31, Goodwill was being paid $21.36 per inmate per day.

The state is now seeking bidders to take over work release centers at a cost "not to exceed $21 per day."

Barney Bishop of the Smart Justice Alliance said he believes privatization is good because "99 times out of 100 the private sector is going to do better than the public sector."

ALSO IN THIS SECTION

  1. Philanthropist David Straz Jr. and his wife Catherine celebrate in March after he advanced into the Tampa mayoral run-off election. Mr. Straz has died at the age of 77. TAILYR IRVINE  |  Times
    The former mayoral candidate who lost to Tampa Mayor Jane Castor earlier this year, died Monday while on a fishing trip in Homosassa. His name, and legacy, are integral to Tampa.
  2. The Chick-fil-A on Dale Mabry in South Tampa. The company announced Monday it will no longer donate to The Salvation Army and the Fellowship of Christian Athletes.
    The groups have faced criticism for their opposition to same-sex marriage.
  3. Dr. Carlyle Luer and his wife Jane  with an orchid in Ecuador, one of the many countries where they searched for the flowers. Luer, co-founder of Marie Selby Botanitcal Gardens in Sarasota, died Nov. 9 at age 97. Photo courtesy of Selby Gardens. Courtesy of Selby Gardens
    Dr. Carlyle Luer gave up a medical practice to pursue his orchid obsession.
  4. Victoria Arriaga, left, does a letter-matching activity during Priscilla Perez's pre-kindergarten class at West Tampa Elementary School in 2018.  [MONICA HERNDON   |   Times]
    Reading proficiency, however, continues to be a challenge.
  5. Candice Anderson, left, and Alsace Walentine, co-owners of Tombolo Books, rearrange books as attendees of the Times Festival of Reading leave the University Student Center behind them. [Jack Evans | Times]
    The shop plans to open next to Black Crow on First Ave. S before the new year.
  6. An opened capsule containing Kratom. The Clearwater City Council was confronted by dozens of concerned citizens at a recent meeting who urged them not to ban the herbal supplement. Times
    “Our recommendation right now is, we don’t think there’s a need to regulate it.”
  7. BayCare Health Systems now plans to build a $200 million, 60-bed hospital along Bruce B. Downs Boulevard. The company previously planned to build on 111 acres further north adjacent to Interstate 75 and an interchange to built at Overpass Road. Shown his the main entrance to BayCare's St. Joseph's Hospital North on Van Dyke Road in Lutz. Times
    BayCare plans a $200 million, 60-bed hospital on land it owns along Bruce B. Downs Boulevard
  8. Jimi Hendrix fan Chase Corley worked to raise money online for a historical marker honoring his guitar idol. GoFundMe.com
    The historical marker is the first in the Tampa area to honor a musician. Credit the man who founded the UT guitar club.
  9. Check tampabay.com for the latest breaking news and updates. Tampa Bay Times
    The teens were waiting for a HART bus when they were struck by a vehicle involved in a chain-reaction crash, police said.
  10. Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis is proposing $1 billion in increased teacher pay as part of a $91.4 billion state budget he put forward on Monday. CHRIS URSO  |  Times
    The Florida governor also wants to hire hundreds of new corrections officers and spend $1.4 billion on hurricane recovery.
Advertisement
Advertisement
Advertisement